sport

Mallinder: Focus on Twickenham

Northampton boss Jim Mallinder is relishing a "massive" week ahead for his team as they prepare for a possible trophy double.

Saints will face Saracens in next Saturday's Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham after securing Amlin Challenge Cup final glory by beating Bath 30-16 at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday night.

"We are really excited," Mallinder said.

"We've got seven massive days ahead, and we've got a chance (of winning the Premiership).

"Saracens are a great team. They finished top of the league, and we know it is going to be very difficult."

Fly-half Stephen Myler kicked 20 points for Northampton as Bath were sunk, while Phil Dowson and Ben Foden scored late tries to end Saints' run of four successive defeats in major finals.

Hailing Myler's display, Mallinder added: "You need a performance like that in big games, just somebody who can keep their head to make really good decisions, not just kicking the goals.

"It was top-drawer by Stephen on a night when all of our leaders stepped up.

"We had a game-plan that we wanted to move their front-five around the field. They were very physical, but we knew if we kept playing, then the opportunites would come.

"Stephen kicked his goals - you have got to take your points in games like this. Unfortunately for (Bath fly-half) George Ford, he missed a few at a crucial time."

Northampton trailed 13-6 at half-time after Ford kicked two penalties and converted wing Anthony Watson's try, but they then recovered superbly despite losing prop Alex Corbisiero to the sin-bin as Bath fell away.

Match-winner Myler said: "You are not just going to turn up and get given the trophy.

"You have got to go out and earn it, and the forwards have been outstanding all season for us. They've given us that platform to play from.

"We regrouped at half-time, came up with a plan and I am proud of the lads that we stuck to that plan."